10 Design Tips for a Greener Home

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WestEdge Design Fair hosted an opening-night party Thursday at Barker Hangar to benefit Heal the Bay ahead of this weekend's design expo. We're excited to partner with the top showcase for modern design on the West Coast. To get ready, we asked WestEdge organizers to offer some tips to help make your home healthy and energy-efficient. We recently sat down with two of our favorite eco-friendly interior designers, Santa Monica-based Sarah Barnard and New York-based Robin Wilson of Robin Wilson Home. Here they offer 10 easy tips to make your home interiors healthy, beautiful, and non-toxic.

Buy hypoallergenic pillows and mattress covers. We sleep one third of our life so our bedding is a vital part of our overall health.

Take off your shoes in the entry area. When you walk into your home with your shoes, you allow dirt and pesticides into your living space. Leave them by the door!

Close the toilet lid when you flush. Flushing creates a two to four foot spray of particles in your bathroom (gross!) These particles could land near your toothbrushes and natural soaps, so be sure to put down the lid!

Get a nylon shower curtain. Most shower curtains are made with vinyl which releases volatile organic compounds. Such chemicals are linked to developmental damage as well as damage to the liver and central nervous, respiratory, and reproductive systems.

Clean with affordable, non-toxic products. Robin recommends Ecover as they make an array of phosphate-free products for all your needs that are made with plant-based and mineral ingredients.

Use energy-efficient light bulbs. Change the bulbs in your house to LED or CFL lights and save money. Get low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators. These items will reduce your home’s water consumption and reduce the energy cost of heating the water. Plus, they’re easy to install.

Dust your home regularly. Doing so will better your home’s indoor air quality and prevent allergies, wheezing and sneezing. Dust can be microscopic so even if you can’t actually see the dust, wipe the surfaces of your home with a cloth at least twice a week.

Avoid “phantom power” and save money. Un-plug electronic appliances when not in use like cell phone chargers, computer cords, toasters, coffee pots, etc. Put all of your electronics on a power cord and simply turn off the circuit when not in use.

Re-use old furniture. If you have a couch or chair that’s looking a bit weathered and you’re on the verge of tossing, simply purchase a eco-friendly slipcover in a great color and pattern and it will feel like it’s brand-spanking new!